Fatimid(redirected from Obaidallah)
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See D. L. O'Leary, Short History of the Fatimid Khalifate (1923).
a dynasty of Arabic caliphs (ruled 909–1171), who traced their ancestry to Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad. The Fatimid dynasty established itself in Ifriqiyah (now in Tunisia) as a result of the country’s conquest by the Berbers, who were waging a struggle against the Aghlabid dynasty in order to establish a state based on the Ismailian Shiite principles of social equality and justice. However, the Fatimids themselves soon began to act as ordinary feudal rulers. By the mid-tenth century, they had conquered almost all of North Africa and Sicily; in 969 they conquered Egypt, which they made the center of their caliphate. By the end of the tenth century, the authority of the Fatimids was accepted in the Hejaz, Yemen, and Syria.
The Fatimid Caliphate was a feudal military-theocratic state, with the caliph also recognized as the Ismailian imam. In 973 the state capital, which had been at Kairouan until 921 and subsequently at Mahdia, was transferred to Cairo. Agriculture was the leading sector of the economy. State ownership of land increased until approximately the mid-11th century. The Fatimids also encouraged the growth of waqf (the giving of land and other types of property for religious or charitable purposes). Handicraft production, which was under state control and primarily served the court, flourished, as did foreign trade.
In the mid-11th century, the Fatimids declined as a result of army insubordination, resistance by the subjugated peoples, and schisms among the ruling elite. North Africa broke away from the Fatimid Caliphate in 1048, and Sicily was conquered by the Normans between 1061 and 1091. Syria came under the control of the Crusaders and the Seljuks. In 1169 the Syrian commander Saladin was appointed vizier in the Fatimid Caliphate. In 1171 he seized power, thus ending the Fatimid dynasty.
REFERENCESemenova, L. A. Iz istorii fatimidskogo Egipta: Ocherki i materialy. Moscow, 1974. (Contains references.)
L. A. SEMENOVA